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Cleaning and Maintenance

How to Use Muriatic Acid (And 4 Genius Uses For It)

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Many masonry projects can make use of muriatic acid. This is a very strong type of acid that comes in handy for some special cleaning tasks. If you’re interested in using muriatic acid in your DIY projects, it’s essential to understand the health risks involved. This is a particularly strong acid that’s on another level compared to typical powerful chemical agents available. You can think of it as a weaker form of hydrochloric acid so it packs a serious corroding punch.

1. How to Use Muriatic Acid Safely

Before learning about the best cleaning applications for muriatic acid, it’s important to take all the preventive measures required to enjoy a safe experience. You need to be extra careful when handling this acid because it can cause severe skin injuries. The fumes are dangerous as well because they can burn your lungs or damage your eyes irreversibly.

It’s actually recommended to avoid muriatic acid altogether unless you’re sure that your home restoration project has no other cleaning alternative. There are some practical applications for muriatic acid because it seems to excel where other cleaning products fail. The drawback involves some serious health concerns so that means you should follow these safety tips to avoid unpleasant consequences:

1.1 Get Adequate Safety Equipment

Never use muriatic acid lightly. It’s mandatory to get properly equipped with safety gear so you can fully protect your face, hands, and other areas of the body. Don’t leave any skin exposed. It’s recommended to opt for thick clothing that covers you completely. To prevent the inhaling of toxic fumes, you will need a reliable respirator rated for organic vapors and acid gases. Check out the 3M 5203 on Amazon. And don’t forget about the correct filters for it.

Protecting your face should always take into account the eyes. For that reason, make sure you have safety glasses on when working with muriatic acid. Consider this safety goggle from DeWalt that’s more durable compared to cheaper options. A thick pair of rubber gloves represents the final important item to equip for maximum safety. Try some heavy-duty gloves that don’t sacrifice flexibility so you can still work comfortably. These chemical-resistant gloves on Amazon should do the trick.

1.2. Keep Clean Water Close

Muriatic acid needs to be diluted in water for pretty much every cleaning project that uses it. You should keep a supply of clean water close for this purpose but also for safety reasons. In case of accidental skin contact, you can quickly wash off the acid with the help of this water.

Even if you’re very careful when handling muriatic acid, it still pays off to be prepared for an unpredictable situation. Aside from the peace of mind, the water is used for keeping the surface wet during the muriatic acid cleaning process. Having a garden hose on hand is also recommended to enhance the feeling of safety even further.

1.3. Dilute the Acid Carefully

When it’s time to make a dilution, remember to pour the acid into water and not the other way around. This is important because adding water to the acid will result in a dangerous chemical reaction that can splash you. Ensure that you have a vessel with the correct amount of water ready for dilution. Don’t add muriatic acid to an empty container.

Not any kind of container will be suitable for muriatic acid dilution. It’s recommended to opt for glass or special plastic material with resistance to strong acids. If you have to work on large surface areas, the cleaning task can be accomplished more efficiently with the help of a plastic sprayer. Choose a heavy-duty model with reliable acid resistance such as the Chemical Guys sprayer available on Amazon.

Take your time with the dilution. It’s never a good idea to rush the process and pour the acid too quickly. By focusing on the task and taking it slow, you will be less likely to make a mistake and spill the acid. It’s probably obvious for some people but make sure you only use water for dilution. Bringing in other acids or substances can have dangerous effects.

2. The Best Uses of Muriatic Acid

2.1. Cleaning and Etching Concrete

If you want to get rid of efflorescence found on concrete surfaces, muriatic acid is one of the best options. It’s capable of dissolving that crystalline blooming on masonry that can indicate an excessive moisture problem. The acid is also strong enough to get rid of other stains from brick or concrete surfaces. After cleaning the efflorescence, you can apply a good concrete sealant to contain the moisture problem.

You can use muriatic acid as a reliable etching agent for those projects that require prepping masonry for paint. You can even handle both the cleaning and etching tasks in one go. Apply the diluted acid solution on the surface that needs to be painted and let it work for around 10 minutes. When the efflorescence starts to dissolve, take a strong nylon brush to clean the surface. If there’s a problem with excess acid, consider spraying an ammonia solution to neutralize it. Allow the surface to fully dry.

2.2. Killing Mold or Tough Stains

While there are safer options when it comes to killing the mold in your basement, sometimes you just need to take the ‘last resort’ option. Mold can be particularly stubborn when large patches develop on concrete or other hard surfaces. This is where muriatic acid can shine but restoring the appearance of that moldy surface has to be done carefully. Keep the basement properly ventilated and don’t forget to rinse the acid thoroughly after you’re done with mold removal.

Muriatic acid isn’t exactly what comes to mind for most homeowners when facing tough stains such as iron and hard water deposits in the toilet bowl. Conventional cleaner solutions can do a good job but where they fail, you can count on this acid. Be warned though, you should never flush muriatic acid down the drain. It’s only possible to let the diluted acid sit in the toilet bowl to clean it but then it has to be siphoned out and safely disposed of to prevent damage to the plumbing system.

2.3. Pool Maintenance

One area where muriatic acid can be used very successfully is pool maintenance. There are many stained pool materials that are easy to clean with the help of this powerful acid. After a proper treatment, you will be able to enjoy the swimming pool as if it’s brand new again. Just make sure you avoid vinyl pool liners because they can get corroded. Gunite and tile materials should be fine.

Muriatic acid is used for keeping a lower pool water pH. It’s recommended to maintain an optimal pH of around 7.6 because higher values can create an imbalance that contributes to bacteria growth. Although you can figure out the exact amount of muriatic acid needed for your pool and add it yourself, it’s probably best to get your hands on a specially-designed replacement acid product as the Certol International found on Amazon.

2.4. Rust Removal

Similar to its great mold killing power, muriatic acid performs very well in terms of rust removal. It’s mainly recommended to eliminate rust stains from surfaces like concrete and ceramic. Using it for the rust on metal may not be ideal because the chemical will actually promote oxidation after the cleaning. This means you can end up making your rust problems worse in the long run.

DIY homeowners who still want to benefit from this acid’s rust removal strength should stick to stainless steel as far as metal surfaces go. It’s also only recommended to use it for a metal surface that will be painted after the anti-rust treatment. For best results, consider a 1:10 muriatic acid dilution in water. A simple paste made from equal parts baking soda and water can be used afterward to minimize the oxidation effect of the acid on the metal.

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